Thursday, May 28, 2009

Collins on Health Care

Sen. Collins has left herself wiggle room. But given what the junior senator has said so far, it's not clear how she would defend (for example) trying to block a vote on the health care legislation that will soon be coming down the pike.

New York Times, October 26, 2008:

After the debate, she told a voter concerned about health care who came up to talk to her that she was open to supporting Mr. Obama's health care plan, should he be elected president. "I actually think his plan is pretty good," Ms. Collins said.
Portland Press Herald, May 25, 2009:
Kevin Kelley, spokesman for Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, said Collins is committed to a few key priorities, including accessibility, price, quality and freedom of choice for consumers.

"She believes the goal should be universal health care coverage..." Kelley said.
Remember, Collins' 2008 campaign was bankrolled in no small part by drug companies, insurance companies and big business. And she's been doing the bidding of multinational corporations for years. So I'm more than a bit skeptical.

But let it be said: So far, she's been making the right noises.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Past As Prologue?

In 1998, Sen. Collins voted in favor of Judge Sotomayor elevation's to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. (Ditto for Sen. Snowe.)

Empathy Free Zone

Sen. Collins on the Supreme Court vacancy. (Prior to the Sotomayor announcement.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Questions for the Weekend

The Hill:

"He has every right to speak out about issues he cares about, and he has some valid points to make," said centrist GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine [on former Vice President Dick Cheney's recent volubility].
What "valid" points does Sen. Collins think Cheney has been making?

When it comes to the facts, the morals and the law, does she more or less accept Cheney's view? Or would she prefer to associate herself with the ideas put forward by President Obama?

Even more to the point: What does Sen. Collins think about stress positions, sleep deprivation and waterboarding?

And why hasn't someone--anyone--with access and a megaphone asked her these questions?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Caps Off

It's no surprise that Sen. Collins voted against capping the interest rates charged by credit card companies.

But I'm curious about The Times' claim that there's a groundswell of interest in the (lopsided) vote.

People who still don't understand that financial institutions call the shots in Washington--and with the Republican party in particular--simply haven't been paying attention.

They certainly didn't watch the Allen-Collins race closely.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Collins Obstructs

Earlier today, Sen. Collins voted to bottle up the nomination of President Obama's pick for deputy secretary of the Interior Department.

Collins, you'll remember, showed extreme deference to President Bush when it came to presidential appointments. She even helped form a group tasked with preventing the filibustering of his judicial nominees.

And yet today, the moderate liberal bipartisan centrist joined 37 other Republicans in blocking an up or down vote on the nomination of David Hayes, who served at Interior during the Clinton Administration.

(Sen. Snowe, as you may have guessed, voted against blocking Hayes.)

Thanks again, LCV.

Collins Mum On Johnsen

In the past, Sen. Collins has been pretty clear about the importance of giving qualified presidential nominees up or down votes.

And yet when it comes to the fate of Dawn Johnsen, President Obama's nominee to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, the junior senator's lips are sealed:

Right now there are 59 Democrats. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) has said he's "concerned" about her nomination, but his office strongly suggested to me that he'd vote for cloture on her confirmation.

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) has said he "opposes" Johnsen, but hasn't answered the cloture question thus far. Republican Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN), though, says he supports her...

For what it's worth, the Senators from Maine haven't responded to my repeated requests for comment.
What exactly is going on here?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pro or Con?

Sen. Collins:

"I've always said I think the states are best able to determine this issue. The governor has changed his position and is signing the bill into law," she said in an interview on MSNBC. She said she expects "a referendum to try to repeal that decision. But this is an example--family law’s always been decided at the state level, and that's what I support."
Okay, the junior senator wants gay marriage decided at the state level.

But decided which way?

Monday, May 4, 2009

NYT: Flu Funds Are Stimulative

Reading this, you could be forgiven for concluding that The New York Times is audacious enough to disagree with the sages at PPH.

Here's The Times:

The scramble to keep up with the new flu strain has underscored how wrong some Republicans were to eliminate $870 million for pandemic flu preparedness from the stimulus package on the grounds that it was not relevant to creating jobs or stimulating the economy.

President Obama was wise to come back with a request for $1.5 billion to supplement medication stockpiles, develop a vaccine, improve monitoring and diagnostic capabilities and assist global efforts to stem the outbreak. Such spending would not only help protect against the flu, it would help keep Americans at work rather than bedridden with swine flu should the virus spread widely.
(Here's PPH.)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Worthy Cause

We have nothing to do with this. Honest.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friendly Fire

From one of those hysterical lefty bloggers at The Wall Street Journal:

Maine's Susan Collins lectured the GOP this week that it needed to be open to "centrists." It does. Though it might help if Sen. Collins ever explained what she thinks that means.

When Joe Lieberman broke with his party on Iraq, or John McCain with his on global warming, or when Daniel Patrick Moynihan stood for Social Security reform, they were able to clearly articulate what it was about their political beliefs that led them to those positions. They also took their positions at some political risk.

When Ms. Collins positions herself as a deficit hawk, even as she votes for every spending bill in sight--often with a pure eye for re-election--and then scolds her colleagues for not being more accepting of her "centrism," well, the party tends to get a bit cranky.
And here's another op-Ed is worth sampling--if only because it would never get published at any of the major papers in Maine.

In fact, even though they come at Sen. Collins from very different angles, what both pieces have in common is that they stray outside the parameters of what's considered acceptable discourse by the folks at the Blethen papers and BDN.

Sharp, skeptical criticism of the junior senator is simply out of bounds.